LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– Firefighters with West Metro Fire Rescue spent part of Friday morning at Bear Creek Lake Park training for surface ice rescues. It is an annual event because their crews do not often respond to ice rescues so it helps them to one again become familiar with the protocol.
“It’s a time for all of our response rigs to come out and practice,” said Mike Simons. “We want them to get out and practice it so if the real call comes in, they’re dialed in and ready to go.”
Each vehicle has a surface ice rescue suit, rope, and other equipment needed to get someone out of the water safely. The conditions around the state allow for water to freeze and then that ice to melt quickly.
“With Colorado we get such warm days and cold nights,” Simons said. “Even though you look at it, you think, ‘Oh, it’s plenty strong to be out there on,’ a lot of times, it’s not.”
Crews were training on one part of the lake while people farther away standing over the center were ice fishing. Simons says this body of water usually freezes over with a thick layer of ice. But the people enjoying these conditions are also better prepared and more familiar with the ice.
“People tend to go out there and they get themselves in trouble, because they go out and find a weak spot and they fall through,” he said. “They come out here all the time, this lake freezes pretty solid but it’s just best to stay off it.”
Unlike ice fishermen and the spots they visit, the ice on most of the ponds in neighborhoods near people who eventually need to be rescued are not thick enough. He says residents should just avoid coming into contact with the ice all together.
“You really can’t tell until you go out there and once you’re out there, it might be too late to know,” Simons said.